As you search for an internship or job, your resume is one of the most important elements that can make or break your chances for an interview. Your resume is the very first impression you make on employers, and it sets the tone for the rest of the hiring process. Anyone can have a resume, but it takes time and effort to produce an effective resume that accurately represents your experience and professional accomplishments.
Want to make sure you land that next big interview? Here are 5 common resume mistakes you might be making, and how to fix them to ensure your resume stands out to recruiters:
Mistake 1: Making Your Resume More than One Page
Always aim to keep your resume one page. It should be a clear, succinct summary of your professional experience and skills. Hiring managers look at countless resumes and applications each day, and don’t spend a lot of time reading each one. Keeping it to one page ensures that they see the most important, pertinent information right away to help them assess your qualifications.
How to fix it: Believe it or not, you can fit a lot of information on one page with the right formatting and spacing. Decrease the margin size on all sides to give you more space to work with. You can also easily shrink the size of the line spacing between your headers and each experience. To do this, place your cursor on each empty line and decrease the font size. Save more line space by putting your position, company name, location and dates of employment on the same line using bold & italics to differentiate between each thing. In addition, include only your most relevant experiences and skills, don’t list every single thing you’ve done!
Mistake 2: Your Bullet Points are Too Vague
The bullet points under each experience are your chance to shine and show employers what you’ve accomplished in previous roles. Vague bullet points that could be found on any resume, like “edited and scheduled blog posts submitted by site contributors,” don’t accurately represent your responsibilities and will easily be overlooked by recruiters.
How to fix it: Update each bullet point on your resume to include strong action verbs like “coordinated”, “developed”, “implemented” and “managed”. It’s also great to include specific results and numbers to demonstrate your successes. For example, “edited and scheduled dozens of blog posts per month submitted by 30+ contributors for a site that receives over 150,000 monthly page views,” sounds a lot more impressive than the vague bullet point above!
Mistake 3: Not Proofreading for Typos
One of the easiest ways to be overlooked in the hiring process is typos on your resume. Employers want to hire detail-oriented individuals, and spelling or grammatical errors don’t make for a great first impression of your work ethic.
How to fix it: Proofread! Not just once, but many times. Have other people look over your resume as well. Sometimes it even helps to read what you’ve wrote out loud to make sure it makes grammatical sense. I proofread my resume as I’m updating it, and then at least one more time before I attach it to an email or application.
Mistake 4: Using the Same Resume for Everything
Most people create one generic resume that includes all of their experience and accomplishments, and then use that to apply to every job or internship they’re interested in. However, to really stand out and land the interview, it’s becoming increasingly necessary to tailor your resume to each position you apply for, so that recruiters can quickly and easily tell if you’re qualified.
How to fix it: Take the time to adjust your resume slightly for each position you apply to, with the goal of highlighting the experiences that are most relevant to the job. Tailor your bullet points to include some of the keywords found in the job listing, and remove any job experiences that aren’t applicable.
Mistake 5: Sending Your Resume as a Word Doc
Once you’ve updated your resume and formatted it perfectly to fit on one page, you’re ready to attach it to an email to send with your application. However, most people don’t take the extra step of saving their resume as a PDF. Instead, they attach their file as a Word Doc, which could result in formatting changes when the recruiter opens the file on their own computer. Saving as a PDF ensures that the formatting you worked so hard on stays intact.
How to fix it: When you’re finished and satisfied with your resume, save it as a Word Doc for yourself, so that you can go back and edit it as necessary. When you want to attach it to an email, save your resume as a PDF using a very specific file name like: LastNameFirstNameResume. This appears more professional, and makes life easier for recruiters who sift through and save hundreds of resume per day.
Have you made any of these resume mistakes? I challenge you to revisit your resume and make some updates so you’ll be ready to land that internship or job you’ve been dreaming about!
Have any other great resume tips? Let us know in the comments.